Are These VHS Tapes ‘Rare’ and Worth Big Money?

An advertised list reported that first-release VHS tapes of "Barney: Waiting for Santa," "Halloween," "Star Wars," and others were rare and worth good money.

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Image via eBay

Claim

A list shows a handful of rare VHS movies and specials that can land a nice sum for owners — potentially even hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Rating

What's True

The original 1982 release of "Star Wars" on VHS (hard case), The Beatles film "Let It Be," the 2000 edition of "WCW Bash at the Beach," and specific versions of the original "Halloween" and "Halloween II" VHS tapes appear to be somewhat rare and should fetch a good sum of money for eBay sellers.

What's False

However, opened versions of the other videotapes on the list likely won't fetch more than a few dollars on eBay. Also, opened VHS copies of "Black Diamond Collection" and "Masterpiece" editions of Disney animated films are not worth hundreds or thousands of dollars.

What's Undetermined

It's undetermined if a small number of extremely high-priced eBay listings were ever paid by the buyers. These listings mostly came from brand-new seller accounts with a 0 rating.

Origin

In late January 2021, the viral content website Ice Pop advertised online a list of purportedly “rare” VHS tapes. The headline from the story read: “These VHS Tapes Can Land a Nice Sum for Owners.” It was originally published by the website Direct Expose in November 2019:

Thought about throwing out your old collection of VHS tapes? Think again. It might be surprising to some, but on eBay, mint condition VHS tapes have been selling from anywhere between a couple of dozens to thousands of dollars! Forget about finding sunken treasure, you might just have a few gold nuggets stored away in your attic.

Several of the VHS tapes to make the list were Disney animated classics. We previously reported that “Black Diamond Collection” Disney films had often been listed on eBay for hundreds or even thousands of dollars. However, the price a seller lists an item for does not determine its value. Value is determined by sales, not a seller’s initial asking price.

In our search for the titles below, we found a few ridiculously high “sold listings” for a number of titles. However, we noticed that the vast majority of those “sold listings” were made by brand-new sellers with an extremely low seller rating. Most of them had a seller rating of 0. It was unclear if these listings were some sort of scam. We reached out to eBay and they responded to us. However, they declined to comment.

We searched eBay for sold listings for all of these supposedly “rare” VHS tapes on the list. The value claimed by Direct Expose and Ice Pop appears below next to each title:

1. “Barney: Waiting for Santa” — $52

False. In early 2021, we found several sold listings for the videotape that ended at $1.50 and $2.

star wars vhs tapes list rare halloween disney black diamond let it be the beatles wcw bash at the beach barney waiting for santa
Courtesy: eBay

“Barney: Waiting for Santa” was released on VHS in 1990. It was part of the Barney Home Video series of tapes.

2. “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” — $90

False. No need to pay anywhere close to $90 for “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” Various versions of the 1996 Disney animated film had sold on eBay for $0.99, and that included the “Masterpiece” edition.

3. “Star Wars” — $100

True. The original 1982 VHS edition of 1977’s “Star Wars” came with a hard case. It had been sold many times on eBay for more than $100.

star wars vhs tapes list rare halloween disney black diamond let it be the beatles wcw bash at the beach barney waiting for santa
Courtesy: eBay

The 1982 release was a truly rare VHS tape. However, later VHS versions of “Episode IV: A New Hope” sold on eBay for far less, as did “Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back” and “Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.”

4. “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” — $150

False. We searched eBay for sold listings and found that the “Masterpiece” edition of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” barely sold for a few dollars. Examples: $0.99, $1.50, $3, and $5.

5. “Fantasia” — $157

False. Buyers won’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on eBay for a VHS copy of “Fantasia.” We found a sold listing for $1.95, and the rest weren’t much higher.

6. “Let It Be” — $100 to $200

True. Like the original 1982 VHS edition of the first “Star Wars” film, it was very true that the “Let It Be” VHS tape was rare and worth more than $100.

star wars vhs tapes list rare halloween disney black diamond let it be the beatles wcw bash at the beach barney waiting for santa
Courtesy: eBay

For example, we found sold eBay listings from sellers with good ratings for $177.95, $45.30 (+$28.63 shipping), $150, $149.99, and $41.99 (+$4.39 shipping).

7. “Thomas & Friends” — $200

False. We were unable to find any “Thomas & Friends” eBay listings that sold for anywhere close to $200. The highest-priced sold listing was for $80, and it included 23 VHS tapes. We looked at 733 sold listings for “Thomas & Friends,” and most of them sold for less than $10.

8. “The Lion King” — $250

False. The “Black Diamond Collection” edition of “The Lion King” had sold in listings that ended at $3.99 and $7.70, for example. We even found a single listing with three VHS films that sold for a total of $14.99: “Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin,” and “The Lion King.”

9. “The Godfather Trilogy” — $300

False. This one might be the cheapest on the list. We found listings for the 6-tape “The Godfather Trilogy” on VHS that went for $1.00, $0.99, and even 25 cents. There was even a listing with the 6-tape set unopened and brand new for only $23. We found nothing even close to $300. “The Godfather Trilogy” might be a somewhat rare find on VHS, but it’s not expensive.

10. “Sleeping Beauty” – $412

False. We found a sold listing for the original VHS edition of “Sleeping Beauty” for 99 cents. The “Masterpiece” edition also only sold for a few dollars.

11. “WCW Bash at the Beach” – $500

True. The list on the Ice Pop and Direct Expose websites claimed that the 2000 edition of “WCW Bash at the Beach” sold for $500. It featured Hulk Hogan.

star wars vhs tapes list rare halloween disney black diamond let it be the beatles wcw bash at the beach barney waiting for santa
Courtesy: eBay

This VHS tape appeared to be rare, and we only found two sold listings that ended at $300 and $500.

12. “The Sword in the Stone” – $1,000

False. No matter which version of “The Sword in the Stone” was searched for on eBay, they all sold for 99 cents, $1.90, $3, $10, etc. We found one listing that ended at a whopping $1,500. However, the seller had a rating of 0. It was unclear if the listing was a scam, or if a transaction actually ended up occurring.

13. “The Jungle Book” — $1,200

False. Most sold listings for “The Jungle Book” ended for less than $10. We did notice one sold listing that went for $300. However, like the strange $1,500 listing for “The Sword in the Stone,” the seller had a rating of 0. It might have been a scam, and the seller might not have been paid.

14. “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” — $2,000

False. A few listings for the original VHS version of “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” went for $8, $9.99, and $12. However, we found nothing even close to $2,000.

15. “The Rescuers” and “The Rescuers Down Under” — $2,500 Total

False. Each of these films usually sold on eBay for less than $15. Nothing we saw got anywhere close to $2,500. However, we did find an unopened version of “The Rescuers” for $51. Someone also appeared to buy “The Rescuers” for $100. However, more than 99% of the listings for the films went for significantly lower prices.

It’s true that the original version of “The Rescuers” on VHS contained an image of a topless woman.

16. “The Fox and the Hound” — $5,000

False. “The Fox and the Hound” appeared, at first, to be one of the pricier Disney animated VHS finds. It’s true that a handful of buyers snagged the film for less than $5, including a bunch of $1 listings. However, we were surprised to find sold listings that ended at $100, $120, $270, $400, and even $5,000. The seller of the $120 listing appeared to be legitimate with a rating of 343 and 98.9%. However, the rest of the $100+ sellers had 0 or 1 for their ratings, which perhaps meant they were not legitimate listings. We’ve reached out to eBay about a handful of these high-priced listings, but they declined to comment on if the sellers were ever paid.

17. “The Little Mermaid” — $6,992

False. The VHS edition of “The Little Mermaid” could easily be purchased on eBay for around $10-15. We noticed quite a few listings for “The Little Mermaid” on VHS sold for hundreds or even thousands of dollars. One listing even went for $10,000. As with other titles we’ve covered on this list, most of the high-priced sold listings had sellers with a 0 for their rating. It was unclear if it was a scam or if they ever got paid.

At the same time, a brand-new and sealed version of “The Little Mermaid” did go for $999.97. The seller had strong ratings and it did not appear to be a scam. The listing’s tape featured “banned” cover art that we previously reported on in another story.

18. “Halloween” — $13,220

True. A specific version of the original VHS release of 1978’s “Halloween” with a special cover appeared to be one of the rarest VHS tapes on this list. We found eBay listings from what appeared to be trustworthy sellers that ended at $349.99, $399.99, $1,100, and even $5,300.05. It was not out of the realm of possibility that someone might have spent $13,220. Here’s why.

Courtesy: eBay

While researching the value of the “Halloween” VHS tape on eBay, we found listings for the 1981 sequel, “Halloween II.” Sellers that appeared to be trustworthy sold the sequel for $6,418.38, $12,000, and even $31,100. These sellers had good seller ratings. It was unclear if the buyers ended up paying these amounts. As noted above, we reached out to eBay, but they declined to comment.

19. “Dumbo” — $14,500

False. Most eBay listings for “Dumbo” on VHS went for less than $15. Other than a brand-new and sealed version of the film that went for $150, we did not find any other listings for hundreds or thousands of dollars.

20. “Aladdin” — $17,500

False. We were unable to find any trustworthy sold listings for “Aladdin” VHS tapes that went for thousands of dollars. We did notice one sold listing from a good seller that ended above $500. However, anyone looking to buy “Aladdin” on VHS should easily be able to do so for less than $20.

21. “Beauty and the Beast” — $17,500

False. Plenty of eBay buyers have purchased the “Black Diamond Collection” edition of “Beauty and the Beast” for less than $10. We found nothing near $17,500, however.

22. “101 Dalmatians” – Over $25,000

False. Ice Pop and Direct Expose claimed that the 1961 animated classic “101 Dalmatians” and the next three on the list were all listed at over $25,000 “as part of a collection.” The key word there is “listed.” Listing an item is different than it actually being sold.

Courtesy: eBay

The vast majority of the sold listings we found for VHS copies of the animated “101 Dalmatians” went for less than $10. Surprisingly, we did find one listing for $5,085 from a seller with a strong rating. We also found listings that sold for $10,000 and $1,425. However, those two sellers had a rating of 0. It was unclear if the three transactions of money ever occurred. As noted above, eBay declined to comment.

23. “Lady and the Tramp” – Over $25,000

False. One listing for a brand-new and sealed version of the 1955 Walt Disney classic “Lady and the Tramp” sold for $80. However, the vast majority of listings for the animated film sold for less than $10. This was the second film mentioned by Ice Pop and Direct Expose that purportedly was listed (but not sold) for over $25,000.

24. “Bambi” – $25,476

False. Buyers should have no issue in snagging a copy of “Bambi” for less than $15. It’s true that one listing ended at $300, but the seller had a rating of 0. It did not appear to be a legitimate listing. Ice Pop and Direct Expose claimed that “Bambi” was purportedly worth $25,476 as part of a listing of several VHS tapes. However, that listing did not sell for $25,476.

25. “Cinderella” – $25,476

False. One listing for the 1950 Walt Disney classic “Cinderella” sold for $200, and the seller even appeared to be legitimate. However, this was an aberration. Most sold listings for the animated classic ended well under $15.

Conclusion

Again, we’ve previously reported on the mostly false “Black Diamond Collection” rumor that claimed classic Walt Disney films on VHS tapes are rare and worth hundreds or thousands of dollars. As a prime example, one listing with multiple bids for 48 Disney videotapes ended at $101. The $101 sold listing included many of the films on this list.

Sellers might be able to make some decent money if they list the original hard case edition of “Star Wars” from 1982, a copy of “Let It Be,” the 2000 edition of “WCW Bash at the Beach,” or perhaps specific original versions of “Halloween” or “Halloween II.” The other titles would likely only fetch a few dollars.

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Recent Updates
  1. Jan. 28, 2021: This story was updated to mention that eBay returned our correspondence. However, they declined to comment on if sellers were paid for the highest-priced listings.
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